RUSH: "California -- the Lindsay Lohan of States," this by Allysia Finley. She is "a lapsed Californian" and an assistant editor of OpinionJournal.com, the Wall Street Journal. "Listen up, California. The other 48 states -- your cousin New York excluded -- are sick of your bratty arrogance. You're the Lindsay Lohan of states: a prima donna who once showed some talent but is now too wasted to do anything with it. After enjoying ephemeral highs and spending binges, you suffer crashes that culminate in brief, unsuccessful stints in rehab. This cycle repeats itself every five to 10 years, as the rest of the country looks on with a mixture of horror and amusement. We'd feel sorry for you if you didn't constantly flip us the bird.
"Instead, we're making bets on how long it will be before your next meltdown. Oh, wait -- you're already melting down. You've racked up nearly $70 billion in general obligation debt, and that doesn't include your $500 billion unfunded pension liability. Your own analysts predict you'll face a hole of at least $80 billion over the next four years. Your government's run by a brothel of environmentalists, lawyers, public-sector unions and legislative bums. When they're not taxing or spending, they're creating regulations and commissions like the Board of Barbering and Cosmetology and the California Blueberry Commission. Many businesses would leave if it weren't for your sunny climate.
"Which may explain why you're so obsessed with climate change. If your climate changes, no one, including your Hollywood friends, would tolerate you anymore. So you've created a law to tax carbon emissions -- no matter that it will kill jobs. It's not as if you don't recognize that you've got problems. Roughly three-quarters of you say you're headed in the wrong direction, according to a recent survey by the Public Policy Institute of California. You're even more depressed than Illinois and New York, and you've got sunshine 10 months of the year! You appropriately give your government low marks -- 28% approval for outgoing Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger," who, by the way, did you see him on The Tonight Show the other night?
He says nobody's going to be bothered if you smoke a joint. Nobody's gonna care if you smoke a joint in California. Probably true, but try lighting up a cigarette and see what happens to you. At any rate, "28% approval for outgoing Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, 16% for the legislature -- yet you continue to re-elect the politicians who got you into this mess. Not a single incumbent state legislator lost re-election this year, including one Democrat who died a month ago (no joke). What's scarier is that you've just given almost all of the keys to statewide offices to Democrats. Jerry Brown will be your new (old) governor. This is the man who acted as a gateway drug to your spending addiction three decades ago when he gave public-sector employees collective bargaining rights.
"Helping enforce your wacky laws will be Lt. Gov-elect Gavin Newsom, the San Francisco mayor who flouted state law by allowing same-sex marriage. On the plus side, he has nice hair and loves you just the way you are. This is what he had to say after winning his race: 'We're nothing but a mirror of our consistent thoughts. You tend to manifest what you focus on. If you look around for what's wrong, you'll find it. But as all we know up here in San Francisco, when you focus on what's right, you see it all around you. ... There is absolutely nothing wrong with California that can't be fixed by what's right with California. ... If you're from another state, you'd love to have the problems of California.'
"You've also just re-elected Barbara Boxer (that's Senator Barbara Boxer) to a fourth term. She boasted on election night that it's her 'eleventh straight election victory, and what a sweet one it is ... [since] everything was thrown at us, including the kitchen sink, and the stove and the oven and everything, millions of dollars of negative ads from known and unknown opponents, millions and millions of dollars.'" So, Miss Finley says, "We've tried to help you, California. Some spent millions on campaigns to entice you to change your reckless behavior. And you told them to kick rocks. So here's our final warning: When you inevitably crash and burn, don't count on us to bail you out," although they are and they will count on us to bail them out.
That's why I suggest an across-the-board massive state tax increase in California. Make 'em pay for it. You know, this is one of these days where my patience is wearing thin. I go in and out of this feeling about this notion that you don't have to pay for what you want or have or need, and California epitomizes this. Five hundred billion dollars of unfunded pension liabilities? Paying people not to work? Health care after they retire? (interruption) I know, Snerdley, me calling for tax increases is simply unbelievable, but, for crying out loud, these are the people calling for tax increases on the rest of us to pay for them. They should pay for it. Make them pay for it. They created their mess. They voted for the people who created this mess.
RUSH: Ray in Livermore, California, great to have you on the EIB Network. Welcome, sir.
CALLER: Rush, it's great to have you, your (garbled) assets. You're busy pointing out how everything Obama is saying is in complete opposition to what he's doing -- or better yet, "Ye shall know them by their fruits."
CALLER: And I want to point to the fact that he keeps saying that he wants to help small businesses, and I am a small business. I've been at this for 20 years, Rush, and I think it's nothing but a damn lie, because what he's doing -- everything he's doing -- is hurting small business, and here's my reasoning. Small business, we're not mandated to give benefits or benefit packages or government controls. Because our size is so small, we come underneath that. We're not beholden to government contracts typically because we're too small to handle some of these contracts and we're not beholden to unions and union contracts. Therefore, that puts a target on our back because we cannot be controlled -- or better said, in the words of Rush Limbaugh, "We are rugged individuals." We don't want government help, and we don't want government intrusion in our lives or our businesses.
RUSH: Well, you got it.
CALLER: Well, you got it, sir. That's what I'm saying.
RUSH: Oh, no, you got it. They're running your business as it is, and they're coming up with policies here. They're upset with you because you're not borrowing any money. Would you explain to people why that is totally irrelevant to you.
CALLER: Well, because in business you don't -- in a small business especially you don't -- borrow money to make parole. You don't borrow money to grow your business when you don't have any customers going through the door.
RUSH: Right. When you got no demand for your business, why the hell are you gonna borrow money for it?
CALLER: And we don't exist to offer benefit packages and paid days off to people as this administration believes that businesses exist to employ people. American people, we exist to provide you with the best products and services at competitive prices, and government has nothing to do with that.
RUSH: Well, it's not just Obama that believes you exist to provide people health care. It's half the people that work for you. It's a sad reality. I don't know if it's half, but a lot of people think the purpose of a corporation is to keep a town together, the purpose of a corporation is to provide health care benefits, the purpose of a corporation is to have sick days, the purpose of a corporation is to have paid vacations. Talk to some of these human resource people who do the interviewing and ask them the first question the employee asks them.
RUSH: John in Whitmore, California. Great to have you on the EIB Network. Hello.
CALLER: Hey, Rush.
CALLER: Greetings. Hey, I listen to you all the time. I've been listening... You know, I'm 70 years old, and I live -- like you said -- in Whitmore, and you mentioned about the way for California to solve its problems is to raise taxes. Now, they're gonna run with that. We're conservative in Northern California.
RUSH: Yeah, I know. (laughing)
CALLER: I'd like for you to separate the two.
CALLER: From Sacramento north, it's very, pretty much conservative.
RUSH: Now, now, now. I've been to Humboldt County. You can't tell me...
CALLER: Well, you've got one town, you're talking Humboldt, yeah, but the majority of Northern California is conservative. You know, we vote conservative, and what they're gonna do is they'll say, "Well, Rush said raise your taxes so they'll raise taxes." We're taxed out of this place already, you know. You can't sell homes here. Their value's gone down so fast we can't move out of California because we can't sell our homes, you know?
RUSH: Where would you go, if you could?
CALLER: Well, I like parts of Texas, parts of Arizona. You know, I like all kinds of other places. We're really taxed heavy. I'm a businessman. I'm a retired businessman.
CALLER: And I would never try to start a business in California. I'm surprised Meg Whitman doesn't pull all of her stuff outta here, you know?
RUSH: I don't think you really have anything to worry about. California will always do the opposite of what I say.
CALLER: Well, I don't know about that. You're pretty right. You know, the only thing is, they will run with you. They listen to you, you know, and they'll run with anything you say like the answer is to raise taxes, and all they'll do is hurt the 40% of us that pay taxes.
RUSH: Well, you're not alone. I'm hearing from people like you in my e-mail in large numbers today who are really afraid that I'm going to be listened to or that California authorities will say, "Even Limbaugh realizes now we have no choice but than to raise taxes," and I admit I'm being a little selfish 'cause we're all paying for California now.
CALLER: Yeah, I agree with that.
RUSH: And New York's next and then Illinois.
RUSH: These people in California keep voting for what they get.
CALLER: Yeah. I don't think you can say they do, but I'm sorry that 40 or 45% vote the other way. And when you throw us all into one category, you're talking like we're all a bunch of dumb idiots.
RUSH: Well, I'm sorry. I know it sounds that way, but when not one incumbent in that state loses...
CALLER: I agree with that.
RUSH: In the state assembly, not one lost.
CALLER: And you know why?
RUSH: Then you go back 30 years for Moonbeam!
CALLER: Yeah, I agree with that, too. You know, actually 40 years on when he was in last time I can't remember, I actually voted for him back then.
RUSH: Well, see?
CALLER: Which was kind of stay tuned, but, you know, we live and learn.
RUSH: Too late. Anyway... I'm sorry. I'm just flippant. I hear what you're saying. I'll think about revising my idea.
RUSH: I think there are some people misunderstanding me on this proposal that I have made to raise taxes in California. I mean on everybody. Everybody! Not just "the rich," everybody. The people that aren't paying taxes now, make 'em pay taxes. If you want to end this, you make this cost people something. I know it goes against the grain of everybody, but California is beyond help. Even when Reagan was out there, when he was governor for eight years, California's budget grew 122%. The bureaucracy grew by 22% when Reagan was governor. He was trying to fight it! So my idea... Look, I know it isn't going to happen.
RUSH: Cheyenne, Wyoming, Travis, welcome to the EIB Network. Great to have you here.
CALLER: Great to be on your show, Rush.
RUSH: Thank you.
CALLER: I don't even know where to start. First of all, it's an honor to speak with you, but I'm highly disappointed in you today.
RUSH: Oh, no. No, no, no.
CALLER: Turned on the radio, got off from one of my calls, and you're for raising taxes.
RUSH: Well --
CALLER: No way. You've got to unleash this economy before you can see the kind of revenues that'll be able to pay down our deficit --
RUSH: No, no, no, no.
CALLER: -- and if you raise taxes you'll never unleash the economy.
RUSH: Wait a minute. I am not suggesting we raise taxes to fix deficits. I'm not suggesting we raise taxes for any reason other than to make Californians pay for this profligacy that they're voting for.
CALLER: So raise taxes on Californians?
CALLER: -- getting the extra benefits and they're the ones that run their deficit into such a big hole.
RUSH: Well, if we don't raise taxes on Californians guess who's taxes are gonna be raised?
RUSH: That's right, because they're gonna get bailed out.
CALLER: Okay, okay, well, I'm glad I got that clear.
RUSH: And it was not just for the rich, it was for the poor and everybody.
CALLER: Oh, yeah, yeah. Gotta be across the board. I'm a flat tax guy, gotta be across the board.
RUSH: Make these people realize what this irresponsibility is costing them and everybody else. My whole point is, there are way too many people going through life who don't want to pay for what they have, pay for what they want, pay for what they get. And it's my tipping point today. If you live in California and you're gonna elect people that are gonna run your state that way, then you pay for it, not us who don't live there.
RUSH: All right.
CALLER: I misunderstood.
RUSH: Well, it's not your fault. You caught the tail end of it, and I can understand the shock and awe when you hear El Rushbo talk about raising taxes, I can understand you pulling off the road to call me.
CALLER: Yeah. Absolutely. If I've got the time, I'd like to talk about Social Security as well.
RUSH: Sure, go right ahead.
CALLER: I'm 25 years old. I've been told my whole life, I mean literally since I was ten years old that I'd never have Social Security. "You better take care of your retirement, you're not gonna be able to count on Social Security." My whole generation has heard this their entire lives. I think that being told that for as long as we have completely prepared us to not get Social Security. There are people much older than me that have paid into it, you know, 15, 20, 30 years. I think that those people, I think my elders, the older generation deserves to get the Social Security they paid into for much longer time. And I would even be willing to pay the rest of my life into a Social Security system that I saw no benefit from --
RUSH: Let me ask you something.
CALLER: -- as long as I got one concession. If I got one concession, that is, my retirement does not get taxed a dime, I will pay for everybody older than me to have their Social Security.
RUSH: You can't make that deal because they'll renege on it. You had it right the first time. You had it right the first time. When you said go through your life as though it isn't going to be there, meaning take care of it yourself.
RUSH: Now, every time I say this, I have people sending me vicious e-mails. "Well, easy for you to say," is the reaction. Now, I, in my life have been fired a bunch of times, which those of you who have listened regularly know, and I have been broke a couple of times, and I've had periods of time where my rent, house payment, and my MasterCard bill came in the same two-week period of the month and I couldn't either pay the rent and eat at the same time, and MasterCard wouldn't change my due date to the second half of the month. And I hated it. And I vowed that when that happened to me, I was never, ever gonna be in a situation like that again where I was gonna have to depend on somebody else, particularly for my needs. Wants, that's a whole different thing. Well, I don't want to depend on other people for my wants, either, but needs, I mean, when I am depending on others for necessities, that to me is failure. I'm not gonna do it. I don't want to be dependent. I don't want to be that obligated. So at that point it became a goal of mine that no matter what I wanted, I had to be able to pay for it to get it.
It's interesting, my parents and grandparents who went through the Great Depression, they tried to drill this into me, and I was, you know, a typical kid, in one ear and out the other. "Okay, Dad, fine, yeah, sure, sure, you don't know what you're talking about." But they came from the attitude of thrift. They had gone through the Depression, everybody was in debt, nobody could get a job, and it was an irresponsible thing to go into debt, other than for your house. That was one thing that you couldn't just write a check for. When those set of circumstances happened to me is when I finally said, "You know, I'm gonna not live beyond my means, and I'm certainly not gonna have expectations that others are gonna support me." So I have done that. And every time I bring this up, "Easy for you to say." Well, it wasn't easy to do. It was not easy to do. It might be easy for me to say, but it has not been easy to do, and it has required a lot of commitment. So I do have a bit of a tipping point when I see a bunch of spoiled-rotten people expecting to live off of everybody else simply because they were born, simply because they're alive.
That's why communism and socialism offend me. The idea that it's up to everybody else to take care of everybody else, nobody's gonna get anywhere doing that, and that has never worked for overall prosperity, economic freedom, more opportunity anywhere. It just doesn't work and it creates resentment, it promotes failure, sameness, lack of inspiration. It destroys the human spirit. Liberalism, socialism, communism, Marxism, it destroys the greatest things about humanity, and that's ambition, dreaming, you know, creativity, entrepreneurism, charity, you name it, it destroys all of that. And I get up and I watch these longhaired, maggot-infested ingrate students complaining about how much education costs. Fine. If you can't afford it, don't go to school or find someplace that you can afford. That's what all the rest of us that have had to accept the responsibilities of life have had to do. Why should they be exempt just because they've had a bunch of irresponsible leaders who lied to 'em? It's time to face the piper.
RUSH: Back to this California tax. I'm sure a lot of people misunderstood it. It's just about paying your way. If you want a state that's gonna pay people $40 million bucks a day not to work, fine! Raise the taxes and you pay it. Forty million dollars a day in unemployment benefits in California. Fine. Tax the poor, tax the unemployed, tax everybody, not just the working. Show us how this is done. It's like with anything else: If you want less of it, you tax it. So if you want fewer stupid Californians, you raise taxes on them.